Monday, April 21, 2008

DVD Review: "The Killing Lens"

The pseudo-documentary seems to be the current the sub-genre du jour for independent horror filmmakers. Historically, the antagonists of horror films-- like Freddy Kreuger or Michael Myers-- have been kept at a distance, at least in terms of their psyche and personal life. What J.L. Botelho's film, “The Killing Lens” attempts to do is show the personal side of a serial killer, and perhaps allow us a glimpse into what motivates a person to commit such evil acts. That is a pretty strong concept for a film. However, a film cannot exist on concept alone. There is also the matter of execution, which was unfortunately the downfall of this film.

The film is set up as a documentary being shot by a group of film students. Inexplicably, a serial killer has signed on to allow them to follow him as he maims and murders his victims. Eventually the horrors that the crew witness during the filming drives them to the brink of madness, and even into complicity with the murderer himself.

The main strike against this film was it's overall amateur aesthetic. The film was shot on digital video, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, when paired with the poor audio quality and distractingly dark picture, the film suffers greatly for it's inferior technology. The film was also quite long, with some scenes meandering on well past the point of any expositional usefulness. And though I'm loathe to point out the sub-par acting in a low-budget indie film, the performances in this particular film were terribly distracting. Overall, the film smacks of inexperience, which overwhelms any message or point that the film may have been attempting to communicate.

Pseudo-documentaries can often be a scathing and interesting way of broaching a taboo topic. Director J.L. Botelho wears his influences on his sleeve-- specifically 1992's “Man Bites Dog.” And, that's fine-- borrowing inspiration from influential art is quite common, especially in the film business. But it's only when something new or interesting is added that a film becomes it's own entity, and not just an amalgamation of it's influences.

Score: 0 out of 5

P.S.-- This film was shit.

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